National Sections of the L5I:

US-French-Israeli carve up of Lebanon meets massive resistance

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Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese - maybe over a million according to Al Jazeera- flowed through the streets of Beirut to protest against the attempt by the United States, backed by France and Israel, to force the withdrawal of Syrian troops and install a regime subservient to their interests.

The BBC confessed, “The crowds dwarfed previous opposition protests urging Syrian troops to leave". George Bush, Ariel Sharon and Jacques Chirac are engaged in full-scale attempt to turn Lebanon into an imperialist semi-colony and a disarmed buffer state for Israel.

They are doing this under the pretext that what is underway is a “democratic revolution". A few thousand largely Maronite (Christian) and Druze drawn from the privileged classes have been trying to imitate the Ukrainian “orange revolution” for the last two weeks, lovingly covered by CNN and the rest of the western media.

The organisers of the massive counterdemonstration were Hezbollah, a mass political and military organisation of the country’s Shia Muslim population- at 36 percent the largest of the religious minorities which compose the country. Sixty per cent of the country’s population are Muslim. The Christians are only 30 per cent and the Druze some 6 per cent. Once again the imperialist powers and their Zionist agents are beginning to create the basis for communal conflict as they seek out a minority to rule for them.

Reeling from the imperialist and conservative Arab regimes’ attacks, Syrian President Bashir Assad has announced a “phased withdrawal” of Syrian troops to positions along the Lebanon-Syria border. The response of the White House was unequivocal. Syria has to get out “completely and immediately.” If not, as Bush has made clear “nothing is ruled out".

The Bush administration pounced on the Syrian forces in Lebanon after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed by a massive car bomb in Beirut February 14. Since the killing could not benefit either Syria or Hezbollah but played directly into the hands of the United States and Israel, the likelihood that Mossad or the CIA were behind it is considerable.

Washington’s mock rage at 15,000 Syrian “troops of occupation” is a sick joke, coming from a country that has killed 100,000 Iraqis since March 2003 and occupies their country with 150,000 troops. Likewise Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip with thousands of troops since 1967.

The Washington Post reported on March 5 that the US is discussing with France what kind of outside military force might supplant Syria in Lebanon, because “the United States fears the Lebanese army is not strong enough to exert and maintain control over the entire country, particularly since Hezbollah, controls much of southern Lebanon.”

Obviously far from “a democratic revolution sweeping the Arab world", as UK foreign secretary Jack Straw has described it, what is underway is in reality a re-colonisation of the middle East, hidden under a series of pseudo-democratic puppet regimes. The antiwar movement in the west must expose this fraud and robbery and join hands with the Iraqi, Lebanese and Palestinian resistance to thwart their plans.